My First Time Towing Experience. - GMC Terrain Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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My First Time Towing Experience.

This isn't a question its a comment about my first towing experience ever, done on a 2013, GMC Terrain SLE, AWD, 3.6L V6.

It all started when I decided I wanted a hitch receiver for my GMC. I originally wanted to buy the car with a receiver preinstalled but there were none in stock and so I had to settle for an after market install. After looking around online I decided that I wanted it "professionally done" but at a decent price. I purchased the receiver and install from uHaul. I figured the majority of my hauling will be done by uHaul trailers anyhow so who better to install it. First thing I did was learn some terms so I could talk to people semi-intelligently, I knew nothing of towing or receivers or ever towed anything before diving in. Google uHaul hitch glossary, that helped a lot.

They did a good job installing the receiver (btw it was a Curt brand receiver) itself but I wasn't overly impressed with the break/turn light wiring harness. They ended up wiring into the driver side taillight and getting in there they did a good job of taking things apart and putting things back together. My only real issue was a hanging harness (it's unsecured), the wires are exposed to the environment (seen people with tube coverings for wire protection, and the fact that I can see the ends of all the zap straps they used under my car to run the wire from the back of the car to the engine compartment. I mean at least cut the straps so u cant notice them. I like the fact that the bumper was designed to accommodate a receiver. No cutting required, this thing popped off the bottom of the bumper and the receiver sits there all pretty like, you cant even see the uhaul logo on the tube of the receiver. To solve the hanging wire harness issue I bought a securing kit from etrailer (18140 & 18144) I am awaiting its arrival in the mail.

The hitch I bought was a Class 3 square tube, most sites say class 3 is rated for 4000 lbs but the uHaul site says its rated for 5000 lbs. Either way the GMC website says the Terrain can only tow 3500 lbs so I guess its a moot point.

Looking at the receiver I realized it was kinda low to the ground. I called uHaul and asked them what the best ball height would be for the trailer's coupler. For the 6x12 trailer (dual axel) its 17 inches but the trailers are good for almost any distance with a cap of 25 inches. Since the middle of the receiver was sitting around 13 inches I felt inclined to get a insert and ball that would raise it to ~17 inches. I went to NAPA and all I saw were inserts with 2 inch drops nothing that brought it up. I asked the guy for help and he kinda laughed at me and told me to take the dropped insert, turn it upside down, and install the ball on the top end. I bought the insert with the ball mount (a 2 inch ball because that's what uHaul's trailers support) and I asked the shop guys at work to reverse the ball. I personally didn't have the tools to do it. I installed it and bam, it was almost a perfect 17 inches high.

I was ready to tow. I needed help securing the trailer to the car as I had never done it before. The backup camera was a big help in positioning the Terrain as close to the coupler as possible. For sure a learning experience. Two things I learnt I should keep in my car. Paper towels and heavy duty gloves. My first tow went great. I probably towed 2000 lbs including the weight of the trailer. Car took it like a champ. No issues going up hills starting or stopping. You just have to give yourself way more breaking room when slowing down. I even managed to backup the trailer 6 foot wide trailer (which is more like 11 feet wide if you include the wheels sticking out) into a 13 foot wide space. It took about 15 minutes but I got it!

Anyhow, if any newbies have any questions about towing please feel free to ask.


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 05:26 PM
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Great post!

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 07:27 PM
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

Maximum with of a standard 6x12 tandem trailer is 8.5 feet including the wheels.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-10-2013, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

Originally Posted by darkside
Maximum with of a standard 6x12 tandem trailer is 8.5 feet including the wheels.
That's really good to know. All I remember is I had about a foot on each side so I was impressed I got it backed up in that space.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

So I got my mounting brackets from e-trailer and I threw them on. I ordered the long bracket and not the short and I think it looks pretty good. Although its "long" its still sits under the bumper and protected from rain.

Couple things to note, the clamp that the bracket comes with is pretty brutal to screw on. I recommend getting a 2 inch bracket from Home Depot or something because they are a lot less finicky. Aftermarket ones are usually silver and not black like the stock clamp so you may want to spray paint it after its mounted. Also another thing that saved me a lot of time and effort is instead of trying to hold the bracket in place while screwing it on with the other hand was I used zap straps/zip ties to hold everything in place as it was going to sit and then I screwed the clamp on for the final hold. Since I used black zip ties I left them on as a secondary holder of the bracket.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2013, 09:11 AM
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

I assume the " insert" is the drawbar which you are sliding into the trailer hitch.
We leave the drawbar in the vehicles year around. Far fewer dents found in the rear of the vehicle when returning To it in parking lots.
Slobber lots of anti-seize onto the drawbar before inserting otherwise they will seize in if snug.
If the drawbar is loose in the trailer hitch. Shim it to prevent rattling.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2016, 06:28 PM
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

Jumping in on an old thread but thanks for the post - not new to towing - I have been towing a 5x8 utility trailer with a small boat on my '13 3.6L awd and love it. But my comment - debating using a 6x12 uhaul trailer for a long drive but was skeptical, numbers aside, how the car would handle it.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 01:13 AM
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

We have been towing a 3000lb pop up camper with our Terrain Denali 3.6 AWD with tow pkg for 2 seasons now. Added a 7pin connector and a brake controller. It tows better than our old 2000 4.3 Blazer. Found a Curt 3.5 in. rise draw bar to tow level. Very little, maybe 1/2-1 inch squat in back. Not sure if I would tow cross country with it, but for our outings of a couple hundred miles it has been great.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 07:23 AM
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

Thanks. .. .good to know!

That 3.6L V6 is a good match for this 4,000 lb CUV especially if you want a little extra power for towing.

2019 GMC Acadia SLT-1 3.6L LGX V6 - Build Date: 4-11-2019 - Bought 6-22-2019

SOLD - - 2015 Equinox LTZ 3.6L FWD Champagne Silver Metallic *Build Date 1-08-2015 *

SOLD with *38,865 miles 8-15-2019.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 05:01 PM
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Re: My First Time Towing Experience.

It is a good match, sad that they are doing away with it for a lesser I4 turbo. I definitely don't want the diesel, it will price it out of the marketplace more than likely IMO.
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